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Mom, volunteers make surgical masks for Jacksonville healthcare workers

It’s a community-wide effort that produced more than 500 masks in a matter of days. The goal, 1,500 surgical masks to be donated to Brooks Rehabilitation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A local mother is taking her skills at the sewing machine to a new level: helping to coordinate a donation of homemade surgical masks for healthcare workers.

“It’s a whole lot more fun having something to do to help other people than to just sit and worry about the problem because I can’t worry and change anything, but I sure can make some masks,” Janet Wells said.

She is just one of the many volunteers who are donating their time and efforts to cutting kits and sewing surgical masks. Her daughter Kaitlyn is an optometrist at Brooks Rehabilitation, where there’s a need for protective gear.

“The next thing I know, I get a text back that says ‘Can you get 1,500 of them made? That’s what we need mom,”’ she said.

Wells, who works at Cinnamon’s Quilt Shoppe near Mandarin got to work. Measuring fabric for about 900 do-it-yourself mask kits.

“I’ve never made masks before last week, but I have been sewing a long time,” Wells said.

Almost 30 years and said to have this kind of impact is amazing. Wells brought the first batch of about 500 masks to Brooks Rehabilitation with the promise to donate another thousand as soon as volunteers can make them.

“Everybody is so happy to be part of the front line and I feel like we’re just back here saying, ‘Yes, yes, go, go’ to all of our medical personnel who are really doing the hard work right now,” Wells said.

She hopes to have the remaining masks complete and donated to Brooks Rehabilitation the first week of April. After that project is finished, she will see who else needs help and what she can offer.